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How to Enjoy the Holidays More by Shattering Stress

The hustle and bustle of the holiday season can certainly be stressful. Your schedule will probably get busier, parking lots will be more crowded and some people will drive more aggressively. Plus, to add to the stress of the prevailing Covid-19 pandemic, this year could mean changes in gatherings, family plans and cherished traditions. If you’re experiencing increased stress and anxiety right now, you’re not alone.

When you’re dealing with holiday stress on top of your everyday life, finding ways to relax becomes even more important. Taking a little time to unwind can help you enjoy this time of year more and help you have a safe and happy holiday season. Last year, people told us they beat holiday stress by retreating from just about everything and taking time for themselves; listening to seasonal music also seemed to cut stress; and spending time with family seemed to lessen holiday anxiety (although, that one could swing either way).

What else can you do reduce your holiday stress?

  • Try controlled breathing. Described as meditation for people who can’t meditate, controlled breathing helps reduce your stress, keeps you alert and boosts your immune system. The New York Times outlines three basic breathing exercises to try on your own.

  • Take a smart approach to your feast. The Food Network has a list of the fastest holiday recipes. Find out what you can quickly put together as an appetizer (shrimp scampi), a first course, second course, sides and dessert.

  • Watch holiday movies and TV shows alone or with your family. Popsugar has a list of holiday movies available to stream, including many of your standby favorites. Not in the mood for an entire movie? Here’s a list of holiday TV show episodes to watch so you don’t have to go hunting for them.

  • Have a plan to avoid toxic conversation topics. The LA Times has holiday conversation tips from advice and etiquette experts like Cheryl Strayed, Jennifer Peepas, and Daniel Post Senning. The bottom line: there are plenty of ways to enjoy being with family this holiday season.

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